HHE Report No. HETA-83-375-1521, Federal Grain Inspection Service, USDA, Portland, Oregon.
Area and breathing zone samples were analyzed for carbon-disulfide (75150), carbon-monoxide (630080), carbon-tetrachloride (56235), chloroform (67663), 1,2-dichloroethylene (540590), ethylene- dibromide (106934), ethylene-dichloride (107062), methyl-bromide (74839), and grain dust at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Federal Grain Inspection Service (SIC-4782) field office, Portland, Oregon, in November, 1983 and April, 1984. The survey was requested by the USDA to evaluate exposures to fumigants at grain sampling and inspection stations. Maximum area exposures of ethylene-dibromide, carbon-disulfide, and carbon-tetrachloride averaged 21, 738, and 1960 parts per billion (ppb), respectively. The corresponding OSHA standards are 100, 20,000, and 10,000ppb. Personal exposures were: ethylene-dibromide, 0.49ppb; and carbon- tetrachloride, 391ppb. Concentrations of other fumigants, carbon- monoxide, and grain dust were negligible. Maximum short term concentrations of carbon-disulfide and carbon-tetrachloride were 327,000 plus and 1,136,000 plus ppb, respectively. Corresponding OSHA ceiling limits are 30,000 and 25,000ppb. The author concludes that there is a serious potential health hazard due to high fumigant concentrations in treated grain in incoming rail cars. Recommendations include wearing respiratory protective equipment when opening fumigated rail cars, aerating fumigated grain before inspection, and eliminating the sniff test as a routine procedure. Research on methods of removing fumigants from treated grain is needed.
Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Cincinnati, Ohio, Report No. HETA-83-375-1521, 63 pages, 23 references